AdventHealth, W.K. Kellogg Foundation partner to help improve health equity across Central Florida

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — AdventHealth and W.K. Kellogg Foundation said the companies have partnered to help improve health equity across Central Florida.

AdventHealth received $2 million in support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

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The program, “Building Health Equity across Health Care Systems and Communities,” is designed to address health inequities across racial and ethnic minority populations.

“COVID-19 has highlighted health disparities across different groups based on race, ethnicity and income. But the truth is the pandemic has only intensified pre-existing disparities,” said Dr. Alric Simmonds, chief health equity officer at AdventHealth. “This support will help us better serve our patients by gaining a deeper understanding of the communities we serve.”

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The two-year funding will help AdventHealth work toward eliminating health inequities in Central Florida by utilizing local data analyzed by AdventHealth University’s Center for Population Health Research to understand racial disparities in patient populations, engaging community members in solutions that create a bridge to health equity and generating both policy and practice changes in the health care system. As part of the program, AdventHealth said it will implement implicit bias training for health care providers.

“Our partnership with AdventHealth is an opportunity to transform the capacity of the health care system,” said Monica Beltran, program officer for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “By doing so, AdventHealth is building a system that is better equipped to address health disparities and racial inequities; improve the health and wellness of the population it serves; and support families and communities to ensure all children thrive.”

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The hospital system said health inequities are systematic differences in the health status of different racial, ethnic and income groups, as defined by the World Health Organization.

“Data from the Department of Health and Human Services shows those in the Black, Latino, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities are dying at higher rates than white non-Hispanics and Asian non-Hispanics. This risk of COVID-19 transmission and death in these communities are heightened due to factors such as discrimination; health care access and use; housing and gaps in education, income and wealth,” AdventHealth said.

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The project will start at AdventHealth facilities in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties, with a goal of expanding across Florida and the country.

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Katlyn Brieskorn, WFTV.com

Katlyn Brieskorn is a Digital Assignment Editor at WFTV. She joined Channel 9 in July 2019.